The Oz Principle - A Book Summary


In The Oz Principle, Connors, Smith, and Hickman brilliantly use the analogy of "The Wizard of Oz" to discuss a business philosophy aimed in propelling individuals and organizations to overcome unfavorable circumstances and achieve desired results. This philosophy can be encompassed in one word: ACCOUNTABILITY.

The eponymous principle builds upon the ethos of personal and organizational accountability. It explores the root cause of an organization's impediments to exceptional performance and productivity, and provides great insight on how to re-establish a business from the bottom up, emphasizing on the thin line that separates success from failure. The Above The Line, Below The Line methodology is the driving force behind The Oz Principle.

The Oz Principle: Getting Results through Accountability

Just like Dorothy's search for the Wizard of Oz for enlightenment, individuals and organizations also seek out the wizard that will save them from the maladies that afflict their workplace. However, the wizard is just a distraction, bearing new-fangled business philosophies and management fads that will only create a layer atop the ugly truth that needs to be revealed. When the core problem is not addressed, the ills will eventually resurface and the business is back to its sorry state.

Victim Thinking or Failed Accountability

When a company suffers from poor performance or unsatisfactory results, individuals from top management all the way to the front line begin finger-pointing, forming excuses, rationalizing, and justifying, instead of doing something to alleviate the situation. They foolishly profess that the circumstances have made victims of them, that the events are completely out of their control, and that they shouldn't be blamed for the company's current problems. It's always something or someone else, never themselves.

Above The Line, Below The Line

A thin line separates failure and success, greatness and mediocrity.

Above The Line, you'll find the Steps to Accountability which include in chronological order: See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It. The first step, See It, means acknowledging the problem; to Own It is to assume responsibility for the problem and the results; Solve It means to formulate solutions to remedy the situation; and, as a culminating step, Do It commands the practical application of the solutions identified.

Below The Line is where the self-professed victims play

The Blame Game. Here, crippling attitudes such as Wait and See, Confusion/Tell Me What To Do, It's Not My Job, Ignore/Deny, Finger Pointing, and Cover Your Tail are rampant. Though majority of the people found in this dimension are weak in accountability, this does not mean that very accountable individuals are exempt from falling Below The Line. They, too, slip every now and then. The only difference is that they know how to get out of the rut.

A Simple Solution to Victimization

Individuals and organizations Below The Line languish in self-pity until they get trapped in the "I Am a Victim" mind-set and find it hard to break free from the vicious cycle. Accountability offers a very simple choice to make, albeit a difficult one to act upon: "You can either get stuck or get results." So stark in its simplicity that most people fail to realize that the ball has always been in their court.

The Power of Individual Accountability: Moving Yourself Above The Line

The first step to accountability is recognizing the problem. It takes great courage to admit that you are stuck in a difficult situation. Most people, however, fail to view reality the way it is because they choose to ignore it or they accept the situation as the status quo and go along with it.

To commence the march up the Steps to Accountability, you must first muster the courage to: a) recognize when you fall Below The Line; b) realize that remaining Below The Line not only ignores the real problem but leads to increasingly poor results; and c) acknowledge and accept reality as the first step toward taking accountability.

Mustering the courage to See It will lead to the next step, Owning It. Here, you must have the heart to own the circumstances you've recognized in the See It step as well as the results that will come from the course of action you plan to take.

"What else can I do to rise above my circumstances and achieve the results I want?" That is the question to continually ask yourself when you find yourself stuck in a stubborn situation. Apart from creating solutions, Solving It also involves foresight in determining the worst possible scenario that can happen, and being prepared to battle it head on.

Having solutions is not enough if you neglect practical application. You can't Do It unless you make yourself accountable not only for immediate circumstances but also for future accomplishment. With this, you are empowering not only yourself but also your organization.

It's so easy to be pulled back Below The Line, especially if you don't accept full accountability for the situation and the future. A lot people are afraid to become accountable because they fear the risks associated with it. However, know that without taking the big leap, you will never get anywhere.

By: Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla

Regine Azurin is the President of BusinessSummaries.com, a company that provides business book summaries of the latest bestsellers for busy executives and entrepreneurs.

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